Volunteer Spirit Awards

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During National Volunteer Week, The Volunteer Center of United Way will honor service and give special recognition to eight outstanding individuals and groups at the 32nd annual Volunteer Spirit Awards celebration and benefit. This year’s event takes place on Friday morning, April 20, from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. Lou Young, the popular CBS 2 broadcast journalist, will emcee the event at the Hilton Rye Town.

Volunteerism unites people in their willingness to make an impact. The Volunteer Center is proud to commemorate the ingenuity, efforts and drive of dedicated citizens locally. “We applaud the invaluable contributions of all volunteers who affect change in our neighborhoods,” said Alisa H. Kesten, Executive Director. “The Volunteer Spirit Awards celebrate the ways the young and young at heart use professional skills, talents and enthusiasm to give back 365 days a year.”

The 2012 Volunteer Spirit Award Winners, selected by a blue-ribbon panel of judges, are:

  • Arts & Culture: Judith Weber of New Rochelle for New Rochelle Council on the Arts — Her leadership and infective passion for the arts engaged a devoted group of volunteers and galvanized a city-wide explosion of year-round cultural activities, reigniting a civic focus and appreciation of the importance of all arts for all ages. (presented by Bunge)
  • Education & Literacy: Nicole Sheindlin of Larchmont for Her Honor Mentoring — Her strong belief that young women can reach their full potential if given access to sound guidance and support led to the creation of a program that pairs them with professional women who provide hands-on experience and advice toward achieving life goals. (presented by Reader’s Digest)
  • Going Green: Peter McCartt, of Eastchester, for Eastchester Environmental Committee & SWEAC— His energy and leadership created two respected environmental organizations, and he continues to cultivate and motivate similar efforts throughout the county to preserve and protect our environment through sound policy and dedicated volunteerism. (presented by ConEdison)
  • Health & Safety: Cynthia Odell, of Yonkers, at Afya Foundation — Her nurturing care buoyed a small staff who worked tirelessly in the days after the 2010 Haiti earthquake and led to the creation of a welcoming place for volunteers of all ages, particularly encouraging development of altruism within the next generation. (presented by Mack-Cali Realty Corporation)
  • Quality of Life: Louis Thomason of Chappaqua, at Richmond Community Services — His professional expertise was channeled for new and inspirational usage, enhancing assistive technology for people with significant intellectual disabilities and designing an intranet platform to facilitate internal staff knowledge sharing. (presented by United Way of Westchester & Putnam)
  • Social Advocacy: Pat Rosafort of Mt. Kisco, at Hope’s Door — Her human resource expertise and compassion for victims of domestic violence combined to create efficient service delivery in a safe haven, supporting the organization’s staff and nurturing clients. (presented by Robison Oil Company)
  • New York Life Youth Group: Neighbors Link High School Volunteer ESL Tutors Group — Their initiative and commitment to service focused on helping English language learners acquire new skills at their own pace, encouraging deeper appreciation of the challenges faced by new immigrants thus enhancing the cross-cultural experience for all.
  • New York Life Youth Leader: Jake Gallin of New Rochelle for Stars for Cars — His respect for military families who either have members currently serving or who have lost a loved one in the line of duty led to the creation of “Stars for Cars” a fundraising effort aiding the USO, proving leadership can start at a very early age.

The Volunteer Spirit Awards are made possible through the generosity of our 2012 Corporate Champions including New York Life, TD Charitable Foundation, Pepsi Beverages Company, Belmay, Bunge, IBM, Mack-Cali Realty Corporation, Robison Oil, Con Edison, The Dannon Company, M&T Bank, Rollins Insurance Company, Chubb, Reader’s Digest, RPW Group, CBRE, and The Westchester Bank. Additional support is provided through a strategic partnership with United Way of Westchester and Putnam.

The 2012 Volunteer Spirit Awards celebration takes place on Friday, April 20th, 8-10 a.m. at the Hilton Rye Town. Ticket prices are $75 per person, $55 for non-profit staff members and all proceeds benefit The Volunteer Center’s work to promote volunteerism. For further information about reservations and raffles or to place a congratulatory ad in the souvenir journal, contact The Volunteer Center at 914-948-4452, e-mail vsa@volunteer-center.org or visit www.volunteer-center.org/awards.


The Volunteer Center is a one-stop resource for all things volunteer. For over 60 years, we have encouraged adults to serve, youth to build character, families to bond, young professionals to excel as leaders, mature adults to stay engaged and businesses to address community needs. Through our online database at www.volunteer-center.org, we match volunteers to meaningful opportunities every day. Recently designated by New York State as one of ten regional centers, The Volunteer Center will expand beyond Westchester and Putnam to elevate the impact of volunteerism in the Mid-Hudson Valley area.

Note: The journal ad deadline extended to April 15th. There is still time to place an ad to congratulate a winner or honor the spirit of volunteerism throughout our communities. Details here.


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